He sent for granite, limestone, quartz, and slate,
And sourced the rock from mines across the land,
So all America could fabricate
The racist wall he spitefully had planned.
The hammers hit, the chisels chopped, the splitters slashed;
The wall was built with optimum technique.
Sweat streaked down builders’ faces light as ash
And smooth as hickory and dark as teak.
But when the final rock was hit in place,
There rang a sound—not from the hammer’s head;
A rising hum that started to displace
The prejudice: a song of love instead.
He tried to build a wall, but up we soared,
And welcomed all new immigrants aboard.
The choral sound of jungles doesn’t pulse
On common notions of the purest song,
No reef weaves through white crags its neon throng,
And all clear minds host clashing impulses.
I’ve been to Hawaii. It’s half Asian.
The past there is the same as everywhere
But for ships’ desertion of the human fair
From canoes, then planes—it’s nowhere’s haven.
Much these invasions cost, but also left
An island’s fact, of skins, and fruit, and surf,
A letting-be, a fighting-back, a law
That speaks to all who have arrived, non-native,
And naturalized. The psychic veil’s a curse
Of pretend homelands. It wasn’t real, brah.
A silhouette is poised, with arm extended,
To welcome “masses yearning to breathe free.”
In winter waters, is its warmth suspended?
Its truth now lie, obscured as history?
Her beacon’s heat, once finding, now is blinding
To sheltered eyes of people left adrift
Within the nation, who fear the binding
Between “human” and “race.” There sprouts a rift.
And yet still gently will the lady stir,
Her feet march on against erratic tides,
Lest freedom seem put on a pedestal,
And souls now turned away lose her as guide.
Though to the orders’ letter we accede,
Let Lady Liberty say what law we heed.
Downtown today, events went on as usual.
The personal effects of absent men
Collected, curbed by rain into a casual
And filthy pile. Some ends of business, then.
The pleasure of the march we staged was song
And shouts–for immigrants, for some of us
A trip imagined of our parents, long
Ago or just last week washed up on shores.
And farther down, in districts where the river Deposits gold, the crowds came out tonight For art, for personal affects, for livers Who sold a mess of garbage, smut, and light.
I walked right through the flotsam—poor, then rich—
For cause, for sale. It all went, life’s a ditch.
A land of open arms is changing now.
Cold, closed, crossed: our borders block the entry
Of ordinary bodies homeward bound,
Although their stories make it to their country.
Sarvin Haghighi kept from her own husband,
Kamal Fadlalla’s doctor-training stopped,
Nael Zaino reaching for his son’s hand—
Called nameless risks, and of their families robbed.
What must the children think of punished parents,
Made into questions strewn across the sea?
Where once were people, now just “where?” and “when?”,
And “who’s this judge?” and “will he set Dad free?”
Of us, too, ask: will freedom turn its back?
Or will our rules make hearts and minds abstract?
Contaminated by disunity,
The land, a body, creeping with new horror,
Breaks out not just within community,
But all along new lines, a rash new war.
To cross these borders you must now surmount
Religion, region—differences exposed.
Before new standards, foreigners amount
To nothing; having nothing, they’re disposed.
Contagion spreads to longtime residents,
And quarantined are those from suspect places; The orders from imperial residence:
Do not distinguish symptoms, only faces.
Until who’s well, or ill, cannot be vetted
And all the world is sick, all nations threatened.
—PTL, ERP, LDS
On the day Creation set aside for rest,
This man, after one hebdomad of rule,
Enacted from his phobia, a test
Both unjust and unusually cruel.
For him, the heinous actions of a few
Have caused the Muslim faith to be defiled;
His amnesty is offered only to
Believers in Abraham’s other child.
As Christians, from American church steeples,
Welcome strangers in, like Good Samaritans,
Trump reviles these unlucky, displaced peoples
And claims “they’ll never be Americans!”
These emigrants now grounded between borders,
Sans hope or home, at the wall of Trump’s orders.
—NN, JD, OS